Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

Ingri Mortenson and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire met at art school in Munich in 1921. Edgar’s father was a noted Italian portrait painter, his mother a Parisian. Ingri, the youngest of five children, traced her lineage back to the Viking kings.

The couple married in Norway, then moved to Paris. As Bohemian artists, they often talked about emigrating to America. “The enormous continent with all its possibilities and grandeur caught our imagination,” Edgar later recalled.

A small payment from a bus accident provided the means. Edgar sailed alone to New York where he earned enough by illustrating books to buy passage for his wife. Once there, Ingri painted portraits and hosted modest dinner parties. The head librarian of the New York Public Library’s juvenile department attended one of those. Why, she asked, didn’t they create picture books for children?

The d’Aulaires published their first children’s book in 1931. Next came three books steeped in the Scandinavian folklore of Ingri’s childhood. Then the couple turned their talents to the history of their new country. The result was a series of beautifully illustrated books about American heroes, one of which, Abraham Lincoln, won the d’Aulaires the American Library Association’s Caldecott Medal. Finally they turned to the realm of myths.

The d’Aulaires worked as a team on both art and text throughout their joint career. Originally, they used stone lithography for their illustrations. A single four-color illustration required four slabs of Bavarian limestone that weighed up to two hundred pounds apiece. The technique gave their illustrations an uncanny hand-drawn vibrancy. When, in the early 1960s, this process became too expensive, the d’Aulaires switched to acetate sheets which closely approximated the texture of lithographic stone.

In their nearly five-decade career, the d’Aulaires received high critical acclaim for their distinguished contributions to children’s literature. They were working on a new book when Ingri died in 1980 at the age of seventy-five. Edgar continued working until he died in 1985 at the age of eighty-six.

  • D’Aulaires’ Toddler Collection

    For ages 2–5, three delightful titles from the award-winning Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.

  • D’Aulaires’ Folklore Collection

    For ages 5-12, these illustrated books of myths, legends and folktales show the d’Aulaires at their fi nest.

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    Too Big

    A silly story about a little tow-headed boy who’s getting “TOO BIG” to do just about everything he’s wants to do. Brightly colored and simply told, this picture book will appeal to preschoolers exploring the world around them.

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    Based on the Chekhov short story “Kashtanka,” this beautiful and touching picture book about a little singing dog is “one of the best of the excellent books by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.” —The New York Times

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    The Terrible Troll-Bird

    One summer’s eve Ola, Lina, Sina, and Trina leave their village to gather firewood in the forest, when they’re surprised by the hideous call of the terrible troll-bird, a giant rooster who pops up out of the treetops and swoops down to devour their beloved horse Blakken. Little does the terrible troll-bird know that he has finally met his match: his terrible days of terrorizing are over.

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    The Two Cars

    On a moonlight night an old jalopy and a shiny new sports car race through the streets to find out who is the fastest and best. The d’Aulaires, whose books of Greek and Norse myths have enchanted older children for generations, present younger children with a modern take on the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

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    D’Aulaires’ Book of Animals

    This remarkably beautiful volume unfolds into an 8-foot long two-sided panoramic work of art on which the animals of the world are rendered in vibrant color and the moonlit shades of night.

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    D’Aulaires’ Book of Trolls

    D’Aulaires’ Book of Trolls, the spectacularly illustrated and delightfully entertaining companion volume to the much-acclaimed D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths.

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    D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

    The Caldecott medal-winning d’Aulaires once again captivate their young audience with this beautifully illustrated introduction to Norse legends.